Edward Linsmier/Getty Images1 of 13
Residents of the Mill Run area of New Port Richey, Fla. prepare to leave their homes under a mandatory evacuation order Tuesday. According to local news, two area rivers have converged and surpassed the 100-year flood plan.
AP2 of 13
Residents of the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village in New Port Richey, Fla. row down a flooded street Tuesday.
AP3 of 13
Boats are sunken and thrown up on a dock at the Rock Landing Marina in Panacea, Fla. Tuesday. High winds and heavy rains spawned by Tropical Storm Debby caused the damage.
AP4 of 13
A young girl reacts to breaking waves at Cedar Key, Fla. as Tropical Storm Debby makes its way across the Gulf of Mexico Sunday.
AP5 of 13
Battening down the hatches at a Cedar Key, Fla. boat-rental docking porch.
AP6 of 13
A skim board rides wind-whipped waves in Panama City Beach, Fla. Monday.
NOAA7 of 13
Satellite photo of Debby swirling in the Gulf Monday.
AP8 of 13
Sunshine Skyway bridge near St. Petersburg, Fla. was closed in both directions Monday after winds reached 52 mph.
AP9 of 13
High winds and high tide strike Cedar Key, Fla. Sunday.
Andy Villamarzo via Twitter10 of 13
Tornado spotted near Clearwater Beach, Fla.
Herbie Pallotta via Twitter11 of 13
A very flooded Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.
@CityofOrangeBeach via Twitter12 of 13
A stormy Alabama coastline.
St_PetersburgFL via Twitter13 of 13Next: Monster Storms of the 21st Century
A soaked Shell Isle in St. Petersburg, Fla.
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- 06/25/12--11:02: _Photos: Tropical St...
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- 06/27/12--10:37: _East Coast Braces f...
- 06/27/12--14:37: _16 Scorching Songs ...
- 06/28/12--02:06: _Millions of Smartph...
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- 06/29/12--10:16: _SKYE Shot of the Day
- 06/25/12--11:02: Photos: Tropical Storm Debby Drenches Florida
- 06/25/12--13:39: 10 U.S. Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels
Thinkstock1 of 10
A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that ocean levels on the U.S. Atlantic coast are rising three times faster than the global average. The Northeast "hotspot" includes the coastline from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to Boston. Major American cities are at greater risk for increased flooding and storm damage.
Which cities? Click through to find out.
New York, N.Y.
You might think the financial crisis has Wall Street underwater today, but a century from now New York might really be swimming. By 2100, sea levels in New York are expected to rise 7.8 to 11.4 inches more than the worldwide average of three feet. Instead of flooding once every few years, the Big Apple could see many heavy floods annually.
Flickr via thisisbossi2 of 10
Look out, Mr. President! Just because the nation's capital isn't on the Atlantic doesn't mean the East Coast city is in the clear. Washington, D.C. rests safely on the banks of the Potomac River, but by 2150, part of the city might be underwater. In about 100 years, as many as 73 monuments and museums on the National Mall could be affected.
Thinkstock3 of 10
There are some competitions you'd rather not win. Unfortunately for the city of Norfolk, Va., having the fastest-rising sea level of any city on the Atlantic coast will only mean headaches. While the average national sea-level rise is around 3.1 millimeters per year, in Norfolk they could soon be expecting as much as 6 millimeters annually.
Thinkstock4 of 10
If sea levels keep rising at increasing rates, Oriole Park might soon have a waterfront view. Baltimore curls around an arm of Chesapeake Bay, and the city center sits at sea level on the harbor. Due to rising sea levels, climatologists say that chances of heavy flooding in the area will double by 2030.
Thinkstock5 of 10
You might want to think twice before splurging for a beach house in the East Hampton hamlet of Montauk. The New York town sits at the tip of Long Island, and like the rest of the Northeast, it's feeling the heat from rising seas.
Thinkstock6 of 10
The most northern city in the affected region, Boston resides right on Massachusetts Bay, leaving it particularly vulnerable to flood damage. From updating building codes to identifying at-risk areas, city and state officials have already begun preparing for the rising waters. In anticipation of future flooding, the New England Aquarium moved its electrical systems from the basement to higher floors. Other businesses will no doubt follow suit.
Thinkstock7 of 10
Cape Hatteras, N.C.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was built in 1870. But thanks to a receding shoreline, the 4,830-ton building had to be moved inland nearly 3,000 feet in 1999. The lighthouse now sits 1,500 feet from the shore (the same distance as it was back in 1870), but if sea levels keep rising at an increasing rate, the historic structure might have to move yet again before the end of the century.
Thinkstock8 of 10
Since 1929, sea levels near this waterfront Rhode Island city have risen nearly a foot, resulting in a variety of changes. Flooding has increased, and fresh-water wetlands have turned into salt marsh. In 2008, the city adopted a plan for gathering information, regulating new development and combating damage.
Flickr via afagen9 of 10
The home of the U.S. Naval Academy might need another line of defense -- against the sea. Annapolis, which looks out over Chesapeake Bay, stands to lose ground to rising waters in the coming years.
AFP/Saul Loeb10 of 10
Atlantic City, N.J.
Sea levels are predicted to rise 15 inches in Atlantic City by 2050, and six inches as soon as 2030. But changes are coming before that. By 2020, the odds of a storm surge four feet above the high-water mark will be one in six, a sobering statistic for the party city.
- 06/26/12--11:58: Florida Vacations Spoiled by Debby
- 06/26/12--12:28: breaking news banner
- 06/26/12--16:15: breaking news update
- 06/26/12--16:21: breaking news update debby
- 06/27/12--01:42: breaking debby update wed a.m.
- 06/27/12--02:03: Blinding Arizona Dust Storm Caught on Video
- 06/27/12--06:22: Out-of-Control Colorado Wildfire Forces Thousands to Flee Homes
- 06/27/12--07:05: Kitesurfer Flies Over Pier During Tropical Storm Debby
- 06/27/12--10:37: East Coast Braces for Scorching Temperatures
- 06/27/12--14:37: 16 Scorching Songs Made for Summer Heat
Thinkstock1 of 17
Record high temperatures have much of the country sweating. You can't control the weather, but with the right music, you just might find some sweet relief. Click through and listen to these 16 songs about scorching weather.
Amazon2 of 17
"Hot Hot Hot" by Buster Poindexter
The heat wave may have you paralyzed, but this '80s hit will get you dancing anyway.
Amazon3 of 17
"Some Like it Hot" by The Power Station
The heat wave isn't bad news for everyone. There are those who are ready to fry.
Amazon4 of 17
"Too Hot" by Kool & The Gang
Need help cooling off? Kool & The Gang offers a little shade from the blistering sun.
Amazon5 of 17
"Burning Love" by Elvis Presley
Not hot enough for ya? The king of rock 'n' roll will get the temperature rising.
Amazon6 of 17
"Heatwave" by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
It's burning up outside, so why not let Martha Reeves set your heart on fire, too?
Amazon7 of 17
"The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey
When you can't escape the heat, embrace it with a little help from Frey.
Amazon8 of 17
"Long Hot Summer Night" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi cuts the heat with his smoky vocals and screeching guitar.
Amazon9 of 17
"Hot In Herre" by Nelly
If the heat wave doesn't already have you stripping down, Nelly will.
Amazon10 of 17
"Cruel Summer" by Bananarama
This year's record temperatures are making for a cruel summer, but hey, at least you're not the only one.
Amazon11 of 17
"Streets of Fire" by Bruce Springsteen
Not even the boss can escape the heat. With these temperatures, it feels like everyone is walking on streets of fire.
Amazon12 of 17
"Hot Stuff" by The Rolling Stones
Sweltering? Mick and Keith are here to help.
Amazon13 of 17
"A Hundred And Ten In The Shade" by John Fogerty
The former Creedance Clearwater Revival frontman knows what its like to get caught in the heat. And that's a fact.
Amazon14 of 17
"White Light/White Heat" by The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground might be singing about a different kind of heat, but the summer's rising temperatures are just as disorienting as the drug-induced stupor the band describes.
Amazon15 of 17
"Summer In The City" by The Lovin' Spoonful
The heat wave may have you feeling half-dead, but with "Summer In The City," The Lovin' Spoonful promises a reprieve when the sun goes down.
Amazon16 of 17
"Me & My Uncle" written by John Phillips, performed by The Grateful Dead
This summer jam will make you forget the heat and head for the nearest music festival.
Amazon17 of 17Next: Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth
"Hot Summer Night" by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Grace Potter may be singing about the dead of winter, but this sexy song will have you sweating.
- 06/28/12--02:43: Massive Dust Storm Sweeps Across Arizona
- 06/28/12--09:02: This Just in from Space: Photo of Massive Sahara Dust Storm
- 06/28/12--09:25: What Would Happen If You Fell Into a Volcano?
iStockphoto1 of 7
What would happen if you leaned a bit too far over the rim of a volcano and fell in? You would die, of course - but how?
Click through to find out.
Design Pics2 of 7
The question has garnered more scientific investigation than you might expect. As reported in December, lava's high density and resistance to flow suggest a person would smack onto the surface of a lava pit rather than sinking into it.
Related at Life's Little Mysteries: What Would Happen If You Fell into a Black Hole?
Digital Vision3 of 7
So, instead of dying like Gollum, who dove into a bubbling volcano in the book and film Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, a simple physics analysis indicates you would stay buoyed on top. This wouldn't save you from a gruesome fate, however: Resting on a bed of molten rock four times hotter than the broiler in an oven, you'd quickly burst into flames and burn to death.
Related at Life's Little Mysteries: Religion and Science: 6 Visions of Earth's Core
Stockbyte5 of 7
In 2002, the Germany-based volcano researcher Richard Roscoe filmed a 66 pound (30 kilogram) bag of leftover food and other organic matter being thrown into the lava lake of Ethiopia's Erta Ale Volcano. The bag of waste fell 260 feet (80 meters) before striking the surface - and, as seen in the video, it ended up making a dent. As the bag burned, it caused violent outbursts of lava in an effect known as fountaining.
Related at Life's Little Mysteries: How Hot Is Hell?
Digital Vision6 of 7
"It is frequently discussed whether it is possible to sink in lava. Due to its high density, a person would generally be expected to remain on the surface," Roscoe wrote in a video description on YouTube, where he recently posted the footage. "Indeed it is possible to briefly walk on certain types of lava if professional heat-protective clothing is worn (do not try yourself). However, the video shows that falling from a height, a person would be able to penetrate the crust of the lake and submerge in it."
Stockbyte7 of 7Next: 10 Amazing Everest Survival Stories
Roscoe suggested the lava's fountaining activity may have been induced by steam produced by the organic matter as it burned.
Copyright 2012 Lifes Little Mysteries, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- 06/28/12--14:15: Could a Trip to Your Favorite Beach Make You Sick?
Thinkstock1 of 23
Could a quick dip at your favorite beach this summer make you ill?
The Natural Resources Defense Council released its annual analysis of water quality and public notification data at U.S. beaches this week. It turns out 2011 wasn't a banner year for water quality. Beach closing and advisory days reached the third-highest level in the 22-year history of the report, totaling 23,481 days. Two-thirds of all beach closures were the result of bacteria levels that exceeded public health standards. The most common culprit? Stormwater runoff.
Experts believe millions of people are sickened by contaminated water each year. Illnesses can range from respiratory infections and stomach flu to meningitis and hepatitis.
Click through to see the 12 superstar beaches that have low violation rates and strong testing and safety practices. Then keep clicking to see 10 of the nation's dirtiest beaches -- repeat offenders that have had consistent contamination problems.
John W. Tuggle via Flickr2 of 23
Superstar: Gulf Shores Public Beach, Ala.
faungg via Flickr3 of 23
Superstar: Gulf State Park Pavilion, Ala.
JeffreyTurner via Flickr4 of 23
Superstar: Bolsa Chica State Beach, Calif.
JP5 of 23
Superstar: Huntington State Beach, Calif.YoTuT via Flickr6 of 23
Superstar: Newport Beach, Calif.Lee Cannon via Flickr7 of 23
Superstar: Dewey Beach, Del.Bernt Rostad via Flickr8 of 23
Superstar: Ocean City at Beach 6, Md.Bernt Rostad via Flickr9 of 23
Superstar: Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach, Minn.SONY DSC10 of 23
Superstar: Park Point Lafayette Community Club Beach, Minn.rickpilot_2000 via Flickr11 of 23
Superstar: Hampton Beach State Park, New HampshireThinkstock12 of 23
Superstar: South Padre Island, TexasCourtesy of WMUR.com13 of 23
Superstar: Wallis Sands Beach, New HampshireyourBuddyBill via Flickr14 of 23
Now, those beaches that have had consistent contamination problems.
Repeat offender: Avalon Beach, Calif.AP15 of 23
Repeat offender: Doheny State Beach, Calif.Dan Mullen via Flickr16 of 23
Repeat offender: South Shore Beach, Wisc.17 of 23
Repeat offender: Euclid State Park, OhioSarabeephoto via Flickr18 of 23
Repeat offender: Winnetka Elder Park Beach, Ill.Doug Kerr via Flickr19 of 23
Repeat offender: Ontario Beach, N.Y.~Sage~ via Flickr20 of 23
Repeat offender: Woodlawn Beach, N.Y.Google Maps21 of 23
Repeat offender: North Point Marina Beach, Ill.NRDC22 of 23
Repeat offender: Villa Angela State Park, Ohio
- 06/29/12--01:23: The Science Behind Saturday's Leap Second
- 50 Amazing Facts About Earth
- Earth Quiz: Mysteries of the Blue Marble
- Image Gallery: One-of-a-Kind Places on Earth
- 06/29/12--04:06: Blazing Colorado Wildfires Captured by NASA Satellite Video
- 06/29/12--10:16: SKYE Shot of the Day
AP1 of 5
Early-rising photographer Colleen Spears composes a picture on the Camp Ellis jetty in Saco, Maine, today as the sun rises over the Atlantic.
AP2 of 5
A passenger jet flies in front of the moon over England Thursday.
Thinkstock3 of 5
Night sky over Micronesia.
Omer Unlu via Flickr4 of 5
Milky Way Galaxy over Gökova, Marmaris, Turkey.
kennymatic via Flickr5 of 5Next: Mind-Blowing New Photos from Space
Sky Tower piercing the sky in Auckland, New Zealand.
@CityOrangeBeach via Twitter
ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. (AP) - Debby, the guest that wouldn't leave, is ruining things for a lot of other visitors.
Vacationers were wearing ponchos instead of swimsuits at the peak of the summer season because of the tropical storm, which has drenched Florida for at least four days straight like a giant shower head set up over the state's Gulf Coast. Debby has dumped as much as 26 inches of rain in some spots.
Disney World wasn't as crowded as usual, and one of its water parks closed because of the soggy, windy weather. Also, Sea World closed early on Monday.
Along the Florida Panhandle, where Debby sat offshore nearly motionless for days, the parking lot at the 100-room Buccaneer Inn was empty because of a power outage ahead of the usually big pre-July Fourth weekend.
"We've had bad luck on this island," said the inn's vice president, JoAnn Shiver. "We've had Dennis. We've had Katrina. We had the oil spill."
In a state where the biggest attractions are the sand and the sun, Debby forced many to make other plans.
Douglas and Carolyn Green of Nashville, Tenn., were supposed to spend a week on St. George Island with three generations of family, but arrived to find the electricity was out and the bridge closed to non-residents for fear of looters. They spent Monday night in nearby Apalachicola, and then all nine relatives headed to Fort Walton Beach.
"We never saw the island," said Douglas Green. "We're moving on. Plan B, I guess you'd call it."
Debby finally blew ashore Tuesday afternoon near Steinhatchee in the Big Bend area, the crook of Florida's elbow. It had sustained winds near 40 mph, barely a tropical storm. It is expected to cross the state and head into the Atlantic on Wednesday afternoon.
Several areas in northern Florida have received more than 10 inches of rain, and forecasters said southeastern Georgia could expect the same. Wakulla, an area in northwestern Florida known for camping and canoeing, has gotten more than 26 inches.
A woman was killed in a tornado spun off from the storm, and a man disappeared in the rough surf over the weekend in Alabama. The storm knocked out power to 250,000 homes and business since it began over the weekend, but electricity had been restored to all but about 35,000 customers. Debby has caused mostly scattered flooding, but forecasters warned it could get worse.
"Even though the winds are coming down, the rain threat continues," said James Franklin at the National Hurricane Center. "We expect another 4 to 8 inches, in some of these areas up in north Florida, in particular."
More from Skye: Photos: Tropical Storm Debby Drenches Florida
Tropical Storm Debby Makes Landfall. More Rain Expected. Read More.
Debby Weakens Tuesday, But More Rain is Expected. Read More.
Debby Weakens, But More Rain is on the Way. Read more.
Debby Weakens, but Flooding Threat Remains. Read More.
(AP) - A massive dust storm in the Phoenix area whipped up 35 mph winds on Tuesday, hampering visibility for drivers. Both the Arizona Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service had issued warnings for drivers in southeastern Arizona to use caution because of the decreased visibility.
Related: 10 Most Weathery Weather Forecaster Names
The Waldo Canyon wildfire moved into subdivisions and destroyed homes in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday. (AP)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (AP) - Tens of thousands of Colorado residents forced from their homes by an out-of-control wildfire took refuge with friends or family and crammed into hotels and shelters as Army troops helped firefighters protect the U.S. Air Force Academy from the flames.
The blaze was raging early Thursday in the mountains and in Colorado's second-largest city, after more than 30,000 evacuees frantically packed up belongings and fled. The wildfire was one of many burning across the parched West that have destroyed structures and prompted evacuations in Montana and Utah.
The White House said President Barack Obama will tour fire-stricken areas of Colorado on Friday and thank firefighters battling some of the worst fires to hit the region in decades. Colorado is also considered a key battleground state in the presidential election in November.
Shifting winds have frustrated firefighters trying to contain the 29-square-mile (75-square-kilometer) Waldo Canyon blaze in Colorado Springs.
"It won't stay in the same place," said incident commander Rich Harvey.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said he expected the president might sign a disaster declaration that would allow for more federal aid.
The full scope of the fire remained unknown. So intense were the flames and so thick the smoke that rescue workers weren't able to tell residents which structures were destroyed and which ones were still standing. Steve Cox, a spokesman for Mayor Steve Bach, said at least dozens of homes had been consumed.
No injuries or damage to Air Force Academy campus structures were reported as the fire roared along its edge. An incoming class of more than 1,000 is still scheduled to arrive Thursday.
The FBI said it was investigating the cause of the fire.
Tom Harbour, director of fire and aviation management for the U.S. Forest Service, said there is competition for firefighting resources, including aircraft, throughout the West.
Harbour said resources are far from being exhausted.
"With over 10,000 firefighters in the Forest Service and the ability to get over 700 aircraft of all types, we're feeling cautiously confident when you look at the season as a whole," Harbour said.
Powered by strong winds from Tropical Storm Debby, a kitesurfer jumps a wave and flies over a pier in Redington Beach, Fla.
Updated Friday, June 29. 9:30 a.m. ET
Swimmers in a Michigan water park try to keep cool. (AP)
The Eastern half of the nation will see another hot day on Friday as a ridge of high pressure that has brought blistering heat to the country's plains continues to move through the Midwest and East Coast. Temperatures could break more than 100 degrees in nearly a dozen states. Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories will remain in effect for the Midwest, as well as the Central and Southern Plains, and have been issued for parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
Related: 16 Scorching Songs Made for Summer Heat
High temperatures will remain in the lower 100s for these areas, which are about 10 degrees above seasonable for most areas. Meanwhile, a cold front moves over the Great Lakes and into the Northeast on Friday.
This system will kick up scattered showers and thunderstorms from the Northeast and down the Ohio River Valley. These storms are not expected to turn severe and this front will bring little relief to the hot temperatures for the region.
Also on Skye: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth
If you're feeling hot this week, it's not a mirage. From Montana to Louisiana, hundreds of heat records have been slashed as harrowing temperatures leave cornfields parched and city sidewalks sizzling.
On Tuesday 251 new daily high temperature records were set, boosting to 1,015 the number of records set in the past seven days.
The consequences range from comical - a bacon-fried driveway in Oklahoma - to catastrophic, as wildfires consuming parts of the Rocky Mountains are fueled by oppressive heat and gusty winds.
The record-breaking numbers might seem big, but they're hard to put into context - the National Climatic Data Center has only been tracking the daily numbers broken for a little more than a year, said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the center.
Still, it's impressive, given that records usually aren't broken until the scorching months of July and August.
"Any time you're breaking all-time records in mid- to late-June, that's a healthy heat wave," Arndt said.
And if forecasts hold, more records could fall in the coming days in the central and western parts of the country and extend to the East Coast through the weekend.
Though it's been a week that could fry a person's soul - and their soles and hands, really anything exposed to the relentless sun - no matter where you are, the objective is the same: stay cool.
If forecasts hold, more records could fall in the coming days in the central and western parts of the country, places accustomed to sweating out the summer.
The current U.S. heat wave "is bad now by our current definition of bad," said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, but "our definition of bad changes. What we see now will be far more common in the years ahead."
No matter where you are, the objective is the same: stay cool.
Smartphone users will soon be able to receive severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service. (AP)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Millions of smartphone users will soon begin receiving text messages about severe weather from a sophisticated government system that can send a blanket warning to mobile devices in the path of a dangerous storm.
The National Weather Service's new Wireless Emergency Alerts system offers a new way to warn Americans about menacing weather, even if they are nowhere near a television, radio or storm sirens.
Beginning Thursday, the system will notify people about approaching tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards and other threats. When a warning is issued for a specific county, a message of no more than 90 characters will cause late-model smartphones in that area to sound a special tone and vibrate.
Users do not have to sign up for the service or pay for the text message. And people who prefer not to get the warnings can opt out of the system.
"These alerts will make sure people are aware of any impending danger and provide them with the information needed so they can be safe until the threat is over," said Amy Storey, spokeswoman for CTIA-The Wireless Association, an industry trade group that helped set up the system.
The system does not yet work with all smartphones or in all areas. It is part of a broader alert network the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched in April that can also send public-safety warnings from the president and participating state and local governments. But the weather service estimates that more than 90 percent of the messages will be about storms.
The weather warnings will include tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, flash floods, extreme winds, blizzards and ice and dust storms. Designers were concerned about overloading users with too much information, so they deliberately limited the messages to warnings, not watches, and excluded severe thunderstorm warnings, weather service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan said.
Wireless carriers serving almost 97 percent of U.S. subscribers have agreed to participate, including the biggest nationwide companies - AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA. Each of the four offers at least some phones capable of receiving emergency alerts, with more on the way.
Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile say they offer the service nationwide. AT&T only offers it in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore., at the moment. Spokesman Michael Balmoris said the company will add additional markets over time but declined to say which ones or when.
Government officials don't have a good handle on exactly how many capable devices are already in use, but Damon Penn, assistant administrator for national continuity programs at FEMA, said the number is probably in the millions.
He said smartphone users should check with their carriers to find out whether service is available and if their device is able to use it. He said many people own phones equipped to get the new alerts but don't know it yet.
Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis said most Sprint smartphones now in use can receive the alerts thanks to recent automatic software upgrades. All new models will be equipped, as will all new tablet devices.
One unanswered question is when the legions of Apple iPhone users will be able to receive alerts. Buchanan said iPhones are supposed to join the system in the fall, but she didn't know if that means only new iPhones, or if software upgrades will make older models capable, too. Representatives of Apple Inc., which is highly secretive about its product upgrades, did not respond to several messages seeking details.
FEMA's system carries three kinds of alerts: presidential alerts, which might deal with national security information such as terrorist attacks; imminent-threat alerts, which include weather warnings as well as public-safety messages from local authorities; and Amber Alerts issued by law enforcement agencies for kidnapped children.
Phone users can opt out of the imminent threat and Amber Alerts, usually just by changing their settings, but they can't opt out of presidential alerts.
Related: 10 Most Weathery Weather Forecaster Names
A blinding dust storm rolled into the Phoenix area on Wednesday, bringing with it rain and lightning. One driver stopped to capture the haboob on video, highlighting the enormous cloud.
Also on Skye: Off-the-Charts Hottest and Coldest Places on Earth
NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of a massive dust storm that began in the Sahara Desert and has spread into Europe. British media reported today that the dust had reached British skies and was falling in dirty raindrops on parts of the country, leaving "grimy orange dust in blotches" on many cars.
This Saturday, June 30, expect a lengthier day, as an extra leap second will be added to Earthlings' clocks.
What's behind this leap second? The ever-so-slight slowing of Earth's rotation, or the 24-hour spin that brings the sun into our skies every morning.
Historically, humans based time on the average rotation of the Earth relative to other celestial bodies, with the second defined by this frame of reference. However, the invention of atomic clocks - accurate to about one second in 200 million years - brought about a definition of a second independent of Earth's rotation. Instead, they're based on a consistent signal emitted by electrons changing energy states within an atom.
Earth has been falling behind the atomic time at a rate of about 2 milliseconds per day, currently trailing the atomic time by six-tenths of a second. Every now and then a leap second must be added to atomic clocks (and thus all of our clocks) to keep in sync with Earth's oddball rotation.
This Saturday will mark the 25th time a leap second has been added since the practice started in 1972. The most recent leap second occurred in 2008 on New Year's Eve.
This added second will give 2012 an extra one day and one second, as 2012 was also a leap year - when a day is added at the end of February to address a discrepancy between our 365-day calendar and the time it takes the Earth to circle the sun.
At 7:59:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), or 23:59:59 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), an extra second will be added to the atomic clock at the U.S. Naval Observatory's Master Clock Facility in Washington, D.C.
Related: SLIDESHOW: Mind-Blowing New Photos from Space
A video camera aboard the International Space Station offered an unusual perspective of the wildfires torching Colorado, capturing this dramatic footage of the smoke and fires burning in the Western U.S. (NASA)
Related: Slideshow: Mind-Blowing New Photos From Space